A Revelstoke map maker is fundraising for a new edition of a local ski guide.
Douglas Sproul is the author and publisher of Rogers Pass Uptracks, Bootpacks & Bushwhacks book and map, which was published five years ago and is regarded by many as the local ski “bible”.
Sproul launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this month for a second edition of the map, which provides information on ski routes.
“I’ve put my heart and soul into it,” said Sproul. The map is based on his previous 26 years of skiing at Rogers Pass.
The new edition map is double-sided with more than 100 routes in total and updated information regarding the winter permit system in Glacier National Park, such as the recent condensing of the previous 16 winter restricted areas to four.
Through Glacier National Park, explosive artillery fire from the Canadian military is used on surrounding mountain slopes to protect Highway 1 and the railway from avalanches. The winter permit system aims to protect skiers from artillery fire and the resulting avalanches.
The new map also includes avalanche paths that hit Highway 1 and spots where artillery is fired.
When Sproul released his book and map in 2015, he did not anticipate its popularity. After selling more than 6,000 copies, the book is now sold out.
Previous to his book, many of the guides were written by Americans. Sproul’s was one of the first by a local skier. He has spent thousands of hours looking at photos and ski touring up neighbouring mountains and valleys, “that suck” just to gather data.
|Douglas Sproul said he’s spent thousands of hours skiing up mountains and valleys near Rogers Pass for gathering data for the new map. (Photo by Douglas Sproul)|
Sproul said he has gotten feedback from countless people regarding the new map. However, it’s unlike other ski guides. It won’t have turn-by-turn directions, leaving some decisions for each skier to make.
“A guide is just the opinion of one person on how to ascend a slope,” he said. Sproul was formally a ski guide and while training, he learned that for each ski route up a face, there can be three different ways to ascend.
“Which is the best way up is always up to the individual to decide.”
Sproul said skiing in Rogers Pass is changing. For one, it’s become more popular. For example, the amount of annual winter permits provided by Parks Canada to skiers has almost quadrupled since 2011. Last year, just under 3,000 skiers got annual permits.
In the past, Sproul said skiers didn’t do laps at Rogers Pass.
“People did one and were done.”
Now, it’s common for multiple laps on ski lines such as Video Peak and 8812.
|Skiing is Rogers Pass is becoming more popular. (Photo by Matt Bunker)|
Sproul said the uptick in skiing isn’t just due to gear advances, but in knowledge sharing, such as through guide books and maps.
“Skiing grabs people.”
Sproul said he is still trying to determine why he loves maps.
“I think it’s because they provide something tangible. They open a world of adventure.”
For example, without maps Sproul wouldn’t have known that Downie Creek had incredible ski terrain.
While Sproul is just releasing a new map at the moment, he is planning to update the guide book as well in the coming year.
“There’s no hand holding in my book and there’s not going to be in the next. It’s the way it has to be. Make some of your own decisions,” he said.
As of Dec. 16, just under $10,500 has been raised towards a final goal of $18,400. According to Kickstarter, the project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Dec. 28.